/ Modified aug 27, 2020 5 p.m.

News roundup: TPD shoots armed teen, some businesses reopening, UA COVID-19 wastewater cases

Recent coverage impacting Southern Arizona, Aug. 27.

Cases 200,139 | Deaths 4,929 | Diagnostic tests 1,173,293

On Thursday, Aug. 27, Arizona reported 680 new cases of novel coronavirus and 33 additional deaths. After weeks of generally declining case numbers, the two largest counties in the state were given the okay to reopen bars and gyms, though with some restrictions. The state's cumulative coronavirus cases rose above 200,000.

Some Arizona bars, gyms and theaters can reopen with capacity limits


Gyms and some bars across metro Phoenix and Tucson are now allowed to reopen as coronavirus transmission numbers in several Arizona counties dropped to the moderate level category that lets the businesses restart with capacity limits. The state has set up a complaint form on its website for people to report businesses that don't follow the state restrictions.

To qualify, Maricopa and Pima counties fell from the substantial transmission levels category they reached earlier this month, when the Arizona Department of Health Services published its guidelines for business reopenings.

Pinal County has so far failed to meet the metrics for reopening. Six of 15 Arizona counties remain in the higher category where gyms, bars, nightclubs and water parks can’t reopen without a state waiver.

Armed teen wanted on warrants fatally shot by Tucson police


Authorities say an armed teenager wanted on felony warrants has been fatally shot by a Tucson police officer who was trying to make an arrest. They say the 17-year-old boy died at the scene Wednesday. The teen’s name wasn’t immediately released.

Police say the boy was facing multiple felony counts tied to crimes in midtown Tucson including armed robbery, aggravated assault with a weapon, aggravated robbery and burglary. Officers located the teen Wednesday afternoon and say he pulled out a gun before being shot.

Police say an internal investigation is being done, which is standard practice when an officer fires a service weapon in the line of duty.

Learn more here.

Tribal police officer in Arizona killed; suspect is injured


Authorities say a Tohono O’odham police officer has been killed while trying to apprehend a suspect on tribal land near the tiny Southern Arizona community of Why.

U.S. Border Patrol officials say several law enforcement agencies were dispatched to a location near the casino to help the tribal police officer Thursday. But the FBI says the officer died and the suspect was injured and taken to a hospital for treatment. Authorities didn’t immediately release the name of the police officer or how he was killed or identify the suspect.

The FBI says it is investigating the incident that occurred near the Desert Diamond Casino in Why, located about 120 miles west of Tucson. The Tohono O’odham reservation stretches from near Tucson to the edge of Why.

Indigenous activists protest wall contractor in Coolidge


About a dozen Indigenous protesters gathered Wednesday morning at the Coolidge facility of fabrication company Stinger Bridge and Iron to condemn ongoing construction of the Trump administration’s border wall on ancestral Indigenous land in Arizona.

Stinger is a subsidiary of Fisher Sand and Gravel, a North Dakota-based construction firm with an office in Tempe that was awarded a $1.3 billion wall contract in May.

The protesters partially blocked the southern entrance of the outdoor facility for about two hours. Stacks of metal bollard panels could be seen behind the gate as protesters sang traditional songs, spoke and stood silently with protest signs.

Members of the group were from Akimel O'odham, Hia-Ced O’odham and Tohono O’odham communities — not all of which are federally recognized tribes. The tribes have ancestral homelands that stretch from the Phoenix area into northern Mexico, all of which they said are now being desecrated by the border wall.

Learn more here.

Navajo Nation residents sue Arizona over early ballot requirements


The federal lawsuit filed by six members of the Navajo Nation requests a section of Arizona election law not apply to people who live on the Navajo Reservation.

Arizona law says mail-in ballots must be received by county election officials by 7 p.m. on Election Day in order to be counted. The lawsuit wants residents of the Navajo Nation to only be required to have their ballots postmarked by Election Day and have the ballots counted if they are received by Nov. 13. Election Day this year is Nov. 3.

According to the suit, “Voting by mail systems rest upon the premise that all citizens have equal mail service.” The suit says that is not the case on the Navajo reservation.

Learn more here.

UA wastewater testing finds COVID-19 cases in dorm


The University of Arizona’s wastewater testing system alerted university officials to COVID-19 cases in an on-campus dorm this week.

On Tuesday, the wastewater testing system at Likins Hall alerted the university that students or staff in the dorm may be positive for COVID-19.

UA President Robert Robbins said during his weekly briefing that a team immediately went to the dorm and tested every resident and staff member. Two asymptomatic students tested positive for the virus and were immediately sent to the quarantine dorm.

Learn more here.

Arizona sending more than 150 Guard troops to Wisconsin


PHOENIX — Arizona is sending more than 150 National Guard troops to Wisconsin to help after widespread unrest over police shooting Jacob Blake, a Black man, on Sunday.

Gov. Doug Ducey's office confirmed Thursday that members of the 850th Military Police Battalion will help Kenosha law enforcement. They are expected to arrive Friday. Three states are sending Guard units to Wisconsin after Gov. Tony Evers requested assistance. Kenosha saw peaceful protests Wednesday night for the first time since police shot Blake.

Tuesday night, two demonstrators were fatally shot and another was wounded. Kenosha is the latest focal point in the racial injustice fight since George Floyd, a Black man, died in May after a white officer pressed a knee to his neck.

Learn more here.

UA to lead Center for Quantum Networks


The next generation of the internet, one powered by quantum computing, could come out of research led by the University of Arizona.

The university on Wednesday announced it received a $26 million, five-year grant from the National Science Foundation to create the Center for Quantum Networks. The UA will lead a coalition that includes Harvard, Yale and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

UA optical sciences assistant professor Saikat Guha will head the effort. He says quantum computing, which exploits the properties of subatomic photons, offers the potential for much faster, more complex problem-solving and improved data privacy.

The project involves networking multiple computers around the Boston metro area using fiber optic cables. Ultimately, the technology could lead to a worldwide quantum network to augment or even replace the existing internet.

Records: Almost Nobody Asked In Southern Arizona Supports New Border Wall

Fronteras Desk

The Trump administration asked several thousand Southern Arizona stakeholders including landowners, other government agencies, tribes and environmental groups about the impacts a border wall would have along the Arizona-Mexico boundary.

The result? People asked are overwhelmingly opposed.

Last spring, Customs and Border Protection opened public comment on about 75 miles of border wall going up in Arizona. It received about 7,000 responses. 6,300 were form letters folks sent in from an environmental group opposed to it. Of the remaining 700, only about 45 supported the idea.

Learn more here.

Navajo Nation reports 14 new COVID-19 cases, 4 more deaths


WINDOW ROCK — Navajo Nation health officials have reported 14 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 with four additional deaths. That brings the total number of people infected to 9,597 with the known death toll now at 498 as of Wednesday night. Navajo Department of Health officials say 93,135 people have been tested for the coronavirus and 7,018 have recovered.

The Navajo Nation lifted its stay-at-home order on Aug. 16, but is asking residents to leave their homes only for emergencies or essential activities.

Much of the Navajo Nation has been closed since March as the coronavirus swept through the vast reservation that extends into New Mexico, Utah and Arizona.

Learn more here.

Arizona governor in Washington for Trump's convention speech


PHOENIX — Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey is flying to Washington, D.C., at the invitation of President Donald Trump to watch the president’s Republican nomination acceptance speech at the White House. The governor’s office announced that Ducey and his wife, Angela, will attend Thursday night’s White House event that culminates the Republican National Convention.

Ducey has increasingly embraced the president, praising him for helping Arizona’s fight against the coronavirus and recently appearing at a Trump campaign rally in Yuma. The Republican governor met with Trump at the White House early this month to accept the president’s praise for lower virus numbers in the state.

US detaining more migrant children in hotels despite outcry


HOUSTON — The Trump administration has sharply increased its use of hotels to detain immigrant children before expelling them from the United States during the coronavirus pandemic. Despite outcry, new data shows the number of children detained in hotels since the pandemic began more than doubled in July.

The government is keeping children as young as 1 in hotels before sending them back to their home countries, citing the threat of the virus in denying migrants the chance to seek asylum. The practice circumvents federal anti-trafficking laws and a two-decade-old court settlement.

An immigrant from Haiti also told AP that government contractors at a hotel told his family to eat ice to pass temperature checks before their deportation flight.

Learn more here.

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